The Breville Oracle BES980XL :: I like it, but I’m not supposed toJanuary 31st, 2014 by Mark
At Clive we are devoted to high quality, traditional espresso. This means you won’t find superautomatic machines in our lineup that are convenient and easy to use, but end up cutting corners on the quality of the shot and the steamed milk. These machines also tend to be built of about 2,000 plastic parts of middling quality. We’re not willing to make this trade off, and thus our lineup has been devoted to Italian espresso machines that are well built and designed to make espresso the traditional way.
My perspective shifted a bit at the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) convention in 2013. I had a chance to try out the Breville Oracle machine along with Zachary from Sprudge. We were both floored at the quality of the espresso and the texture of the automatic frother. Breville has really thought about the engineering behind a tough challenge – automating the grinding, dosing, and tamping of shot pulling along with the texturing of milk. The smartest move was to separate the grinding chamber from the brewing chamber, asking the user to physically move the portafilter between these two tasks. Most superautomatic machines don’t do this, relying on a mechanical action inside the machine to move the ground espresso from the grinding chamber into the portafilter for shot pulling. This results in all kinds of nasty problems, like hidden areas for ground espresso to accumulate, inviting the coffee oils to be become rancid. This happens very quickly in most superautomatic machines, even if the user does the regularly scheduled cleaning cycle.
We’ve tested two top of the line superautomatic machines at Clive, hoping to find a good quality machine for an office environment when traditional espresso routines are not practical. They were both big disappointments.
The Breville Oracle has a lot of promise. I’ve only tested it on the convention floor, so a true review will have to wait until we get our demo unit. For now, I can say that Breville has developed a compelling option for those that are looking for fast, good quality espresso drinks.
We have been told by Breville that we’ll start receiving Oracle units around February 25th.The Oracle is still in early production, meaning it will only be offered through a select list of retailers. Clive has been selected as one of the only retailers in the Portland area to sell the Oracle at this early stage. We aren’t allowed to sell it online, so you’ll have to visit us in our Portland showroom or give us a call to learn more.